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An ancient conlang rediscovered

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Friday, November 28, 2003, 22:46
Exploring the dark recesses of a dusty old, recently
re-installed hard drive, I unearthed the remains of an
ancient conlang originally called Tazhi, but due to be
renamed (possibly "Zinuvian?") and brought up to date.
 It occurs to me that the grammar of this language is
distinctly non-human, so that its origin is probably
some distant alien civilization which has long since
perhished from the galaxy leaving only scattered
remnants of its written language in documents left
aboard a few derelict spacecraft found drifting in
deep space.  This would explain why the known
vocabulary only numbers a few thousand words.

Clearly the Zinuvian species had quite different brain
structures for language.  The typical Zinuvian
sentence is three to four words in length, and only
rarely has a five-word sentence been found in the
collected Zinuvian corpus. Sentences of six words or
more are not known to exist. [Ref. The Revised
Standard Zinuvian Corpus, B. Drake, K. Yamamoto, ed.
Luna City University Press, Luna, (c)2096, 2117]  It
has been suggested that the Zinuvian vocal/breathing
anatomy was such that only short sentences could be
spoken before another breath had to be drawn.

(Pronunciation note: No standard pronunciation exists,
as scholars from all regions of Earth and from
numerous Earth colonies throughout the solar system,
each with their own regional dialects, have
contributed to the study of the language.  Mutual
comprehension dictates only that vowel sounds be
distiguished clearly and that all vowels are
pronounced.  i.e. "pale" is pronounced something
reasonably like "pa-lay" and not like the English word

Sample Babel text in English

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one
And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east,
that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and
they dwelt there.

Same Babel text in Zinuvian (aka Tazhi)

Iquabeon uche pasu.  Azabeon ale teru.  Linu kwanive
ona.  Palu kwanive ona so.
Iquabeon tiwa zhernu.  Pan senubeo aba emu.  Yam okuro
senu.  Azabeon yira Shinar lozhu.  Tian senubeo acto
zhernu.  Hem desko pilanu.  Hem ponadomo pan so.

Literal translation back into English

Iquabeon uche pasu.*   When-is (temporal context is)
distant (much) past
Azabeon ale teru.      Where-is (spatial context is)
all earth
Linu kwanive ona.      Language quantity (is) one
Palu kwanive ona so.   Speech quantity (is) one stop

Iquabeon tiwa zhernu.       When-is during journey
Pan senubeo aba emu.        It (the journey) that-be
from the-east
Yam okuro senu.             So happen that
Azabeon yira Shinar lozhu.  Where-is in land-of-Shinar
Tian senubeo acto zhernu.   They that-be (who)act-out
Hem desko pilanu.           Same (they) find (a) plain
Hem ponadomo pan so.         Same (they) upon-dwell it
(the plain) stop

*Alternative translation of first sentence: Iquabeon
uchalte. = (temporal context is) ancient (time).


Clint Jackson BAKER <litrex2@...>